Helping Students Start Thinking About Their Future Careers One Step at a Time

Figuring out a career path can be tricky – especially for students. There are so many different paths to take that it can get overwhelming. Where do you even start?

Bethany Germano, VP, charitable giving & corporate events at First Federal Lakewood, found a way to get Cleveland-based Max Hayes High School students thinking about their future careers through education – and having fun at the same time!

It began in 2018 when First Federal Lakewood partnered with the Friends of Max Hayes High School on a program where local manufacturers came to the school to teach students about various trades. Max Hayes High School’s mission focuses on giving their students an opportunity to earn credentials in various industries and gives them hands-on experience outside the classroom. Students have a chance to explore trades from automotive technology to manufacturing to building and construction technology.

“Our sponsorship with Friends of Max Hayes High School is how I first got connected and learned more about them,” said Germano. “The school helps students figure out a career path so they’re set when they graduate and walk out the door.”

Partnerships with Friends of Max Hayes High School included sponsoring Motogo, a non-profit program where students worked with motorcycles and were introduced to the art of mechanics like operating small engines, maintenance and using proper tools.

More partnerships were on the horizon thanks to the bank’s involvement with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.), a nonprofit that has classrooms at various Cleveland Metropolitan School District high schools.

“2022 was the first year that Y.O.U. had a designated financial literacy class at Max Hayes that I lead,” she said. “I’ve also been doing mock interviews online and helping students prep for job readiness, too.”

Additionally, the school brings in professionals from various lines of work to teach students the variety of career opportunities available.

“I opened their eyes to all the different departments in a bank from human resources to marketing,” Germano said. “It’s all about being relatable to the students and to give them hope and motivation that the world is their oyster and they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

Germano is excited for the future and is looking forward to building and growing the relationship between First Federal Lakewood and Max Hayes High School.

“It’s wonderful to give back,” she said. “I get as much out of it as the students do. You see the excitement and interest about their futures, it really is a gift.”

Interested in learning more about our community outreach and volunteer work? Read about our past events (and see what community outreach events are on our calendar for 2022!) Don’t forget to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube to see what we’re up to in the bank and in our communities.